America’s Best Cities for Product Managers

top tech cities

When you’re on the job hunt, having the qualifications and the right portfolio is just part of the puzzle. There are multiple factors involved in landing the right position, and being in the right place is a key piece. Top tech talent in the US understand that being in one of the top tech cities of the country can make a huge difference in their product management careers. And you can expect tech hubs to be some of the best cities for Product Managers.  That’s why many professionals are moving to certain parts of the US in droves.

Whether you’re a budding Product Manager or a seasoned professional, these 8 tech hubs are ripe with opportunities and attractive benefits to boot. Let’s take a look at the 8 best cities for Product Managers in the US to see why. 

1. New York 

New York City has always been a significant global hub for most industries, and tech is no different. The Big Apple is quickly becoming the largest urban center for tech companies, with some analysts even predicting that it will be the most important tech hub in the world within the next five years.

A 2019 global industry report by KPMG ranked it the city most likely to become the leading technology innovation hub outside of Silicon Valley over the next four years—and there is a lot of evidence supporting this so far. It has more than 9,000 startups and was valued as the second most valuable ecosystem in the world in 2020.

The four “Big Tech” companies—Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Apple—have greatly increased their footprints in the city in the last few years: They now have over 22,000 employees in the city, and Amazon and Facebook have both leased significant office space in Manhattan, making the metropololis one of the best cities for Product Managers gunning for that FAANG position.

All this presents limitless prospects for product managers and start-ups alike. The NYC tech sector alone represented 372,000 jobs in 2019, and the recent boom can only mean more demand for talent. 85% of companies based in New York plan to increase hiring new tech talent in the near future.

New York is a cosmopolitan city, and this is reflected across the tech world as well. In tech, the city is known for diversity and has the most women-owned businesses in all of the US by more than double. 

2. Seattle

Seattle has a rich history as one of the best US cities for Product Managers in tech. It was first put on the map in the 80s when Microsoft — then the largest tech company in the world — became established in the region. Soon after, in 1994, Amazon was founded. The latter is now the biggest employer in tech in the world. Other tech giants such as Facebook, Google, and Apple gave this tech activity a boost as well by setting up outposts in the city’s South Lake Union neighborhood.

All this activity served to create a conducive environment for tech start-ups and talent to thrive, with a handful of large tech companies like Twitter and Zendesk being created amid this growth. 

Today, Seattle is considered one of the biggest tech hubs in the nation, even ranking in the top three alongside San Francisco and Washington, D.C. in the last few years.

What Does this Tech Hub Offer Those in Product Management?

Over the last two years alone, Seattle’s tech-related jobs have grown by double the rate of any other US city. What’s more, these positions offer the third-highest tech salaries in the country. According to salary information reported by Glassdoor in July 2020, Product Managers in Seattle earn median salaries of $119,000.

Though the median salary of the city’s tech jobs is less than San Francisco’s, the lower cost of living in Seattle has been proven to balance out the two cities in terms of take-home figures.

3. San Francisco

People immediately think of companies like Facebook and Apple when the name Silicon Valley is mentioned, but an oft-forgotten fact about this city is that its tech roots were planted way before in 1939. It is in fact the Hewlett-Packard (HP) company that put San Francisco on the tech trajectory through the patenting of an audio oscillator by its founders.

Fast forward to today, the Bay Area and Silicon Valley are revered globally as the birthplaces of some of the world’s biggest tech companies and products. Despite other cities rising in the space, San Francisco still holds its place as the king of venture capital financing and tech IPOs in recent years. Startups in this city secured over $31 billion in the last decade, and tech salaries are consistently reported to be the highest in the world — San Francisco product managers earned a median salary of $162,319 in 2020, while top companies paid up to $240K for the role.

Some of these top companies include software companies like Cisco Systems, Intel, Oracle, and of course the more famous ones like Pinterest, Slack, or Salesforce. In spite of its notoriety for having a high cost of living, this city is still one of the best cities for Product Managers to be

4. San Diego

San Diego is known as California’s other tech hub, but the city certainly holds its own as an innovation and business hub. The city’s history as a tech hub can be traced back to the 1980s when wireless technology innovator Qualcomm set up operations. At present, Qualcomm still has its headquarters there alongside other giants like Google, Amazon, Walmart Labs, and Seismic, among others.

San Diego is no doubt on its way to being one of the top up and coming tech cities of the globe. It was even ranked as the 6th fastest-growing US city for software and tech professionals by the CBRE.

Unlike San Francisco with its sky-rocketing cost of living, San Diego has no glaring weaknesses as a metro area. This outlook makes it an attractive location for tech companies looking to expand out of saturated markets.

If you’re looking at a career in product management, San Diego is a good place to be. Aside from the already established tech companies that are the city’s largest employers, San Diego poses as an ideal hub for startups to thrive. Opportunities, coupled with a better quality of life, give it a major advantage over other tech cities. 

5. Austin, Texas

Austin, TX has quickly grown into a hotspot of tech startups and innovation hubs. The exponential growth of the tech scene has even earned the city the nickname “Silicon Hills”. 

In the numbers, there are over 5,500 startups and tech companies based in the region, venture funding totaled $1.84 billion in 2020, and more than 100 tech companies have relocated to the area in the past two years.

Austin has not received as much attention as other major tech hubs, but the city’s tech scene has grown at a steady pace. The start of this trend can be attributed to computer company Dell, which was famously started in 1984 by Michael Dell while he was at the University of Texas. 

Over the last two decades, companies like Bigcommerce, Oracle Silvercar, Spredfast, and Mozido have fueled this growth, and household names like Apple, Facebook, Google, Samsung, and IBM have established a strong foothold as well. Apple recently broke ground on a new $1 billion, 3-million-square-foot campus, making it the biggest employer in Austin.

Why Austin? 

The city’s relatively low cost of living and demand for talent makes it the place to be for product managers in the startup and tech industry. Hired.com’s annual “2020 State of Salaries” report found that Austin tech workers’ cash went the farthest in the U.S. Plus, the city offers a lot more in terms of work-life balance, with great schools, an easy, outdoor lifestyle, and a thriving social scene. 

6. Portland 

Growth in tech jobs is spreading to smaller markets more than ever, and Portland is one of the best exhibits of this. Nicknamed the “Silicon Forest”, this city’s growth in tech can be attributed to spillover from California, its neighboring state. 

Furthermore, the city’s investment in the development of the industry has grown the tech talent pool exponentially. Two notable projects that led to this growth were the Portland Incubator Experiment and the Portland Seed Fund, which raised more than $140 million and incubated over 60 companies.

Today, Oregon stands on its own as a tech hub, attracting startups and investors with its big city amenities, work-life balance, and affordable housing options. Nike, Wieden+Kennedy, and Intel’s largest campuses are located in the area, while Google, eBay, Airbnb, Hewlett Packard, and Salesforce are some of the many giants with outposts in the region. 

Looking for affordable living options coupled with higher paychecks? Product manager jobs in the Silicon Forest are worth a try. 

7. Boston 

Boston’s call to fame has always been its top colleges and universities, including Harvard and MIT, but it is this same feature that makes it an ideal tech ecosystem. Namely, there is top tech talent coming out of these schools, as well as a fostering of innovation and entrepreneurship. 

Big tech companies have taken note of this. Over the last decade, Amazon has invested more than $6.2 billion in Massachusetts and recently announced plans to expand its Boston Tech Hub in the Seaport area, a move which will create more than 3,000 new corporate and technology jobs over the next several years. 

It’s not just tech giants that have found room to flourish in Boston. The city was ranked first among the top 25 startup hubs in America in 2016, findings based on talent, specialization, capital, density, connectivity, and other data. These statistics have since been proven true as its digital economy has continued to grow exponentially. 

Product managers can find their dream jobs in Boston working at companies such as Facebook, Hubspot, iRobot, Wayfair, Akamai, among others.

8. Atlanta 

Atlanta has been a business and commerce hub for a long time. It is home to 16 Fortune 500 companies including Coca-Cola Co., Delta Airlines, United Parcel Service (UPS), and others. 

Now the city is taking the next logical step: Tech. And the payoff has been good so far. Atlanta and its surrounding metro area was reported to have the second-fastest growing economy in the United States in 2019 and Georgia start-ups have received billions in funding to date.

This growing startup scene is also evidenced by activity out of the Atlanta Tech Village, a shared space created for startups to work alongside each other and collaborate. The village ranks among the top five largest tech hubs in the nation, having led to the creation of more than 6,500 jobs and helped raise over $900 million in funding since its inception in 2013.

Atlanta is known for its diverse population, making it an ideal city for founders who want to scale and are passionate about inclusion. Many startups and companies with executives of color are finding their niche and making a home in the city that hosts major tech companies such as fintech and e-commerce software and hardware company Fiserv, cybersecurity service provider Secureworks, Cox Automotive, and payment processing giant Global Payments, among others. 

 

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Looking for the Perfect Product Manager Role?  

Do any of the above tech cities sound like the place to be? The next step is figuring out where to find Product Manager jobs in the area. Check out the job postings on our exclusively curated job board to see what’s on the market in the best cities for Product Managers. We update the list with all the best positions daily, saving you hours of scrolling through multiple company and job sites. Find your next Product Manager adventure today and start applying.

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